In the Year of Jubilee eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 509 pages of information about In the Year of Jubilee.

In the Year of Jubilee eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 509 pages of information about In the Year of Jubilee.

‘Come into my room,’ she said curtly.

Arrived there, she did not strike a light.  She closed the door, and took hold of her friend’s arm.

’We can’t go back the day after to-morrow, Jessica.  We must wait a day longer, till the afternoon of Friday.’

‘Why?  What’s the matter, Nancy?’

’Nothing serious.  Don’t be frightened, I’m tired, and I shall go to bed.’

‘But why must we wait?’

’Listen:  will you promise me faithfully—­as friend to friend, faith fully—­not to tell the reason even to your mother?’

‘I will, faithfully.’

’Then, it’s this.  On Friday morning I shall be married to Mr Tarrant.’


’I may tell you more, before then; but perhaps not.  We shall be married by licence, and it needs one day between getting the licence and the marriage.  You may tell your mother, if you like, that I want to stay longer on his account.  I don’t care; of course she suspects something.  But not a syllable to hint at the truth.  I have been your best friend for a long time, and I trust you.’

She spoke in a passionate whisper, and Jessica felt her trembling.

‘You needn’t have the least fear of me, dear.’

‘I believe it.  Kiss me, and good-night!’

Part III:  Into Bontage


During his daughter’s absence, Stephen Lord led a miserable life.  The wasting disease had firm hold upon him; day by day it consumed his flesh, darkened his mind.  The more need he had of nursing and restraint, the less could he tolerate interference with his habits, invasion of his gloomy solitude.  The doctor’s visits availed nothing; he listened to advice, or seemed to listen, but with a smile of obstinate suspicion on his furrowed face which conveyed too plain a meaning to the adviser.

On one point Mary had prevailed with him.  After some days’ resistance, he allowed her to transform the cabin-like arrangements of his room, and give it the appearance of a comfortable bed-chamber.  But he would not take to his bed, and the suggestion of professional nursing excited his wrath.

‘Do you write to Nancy?’ he asked one morning of his faithful attendant, with scowling suspicion.


‘You are telling me the truth?’

‘I never write to any one.’

‘Understand plainly that I won’t have a word said to her about me.’

This was when Horace had gone away to Scarborough, believing, on his father’s assurance, that there was no ground whatever for anxiety.  Sometimes Mr. Lord sat hour after hour in an unchanging position, his dull eyes scarcely moving from one point.  At others he paced his room, or wandered about the house, or made an attempt at gardening —­which soon ended in pain and exhaustion.  Towards night he became feverish, his hollow cheeks glowing with an ominous tint.  In the morning he occasionally prepared himself as if to start for his place of business; he left the house, and walked for perhaps a couple of hundred yards, then slackened his pace, stopped, looked about him in an agony of indecision, and at length returned.  After this futile endeavour, he had recourse to the bottles in his cupboard, and presently fell into a troubled sleep.

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In the Year of Jubilee from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.